New era doesn’t start well for UVU men’s basketball

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Wolverines struggle offensively in season-opening loss

Kyle McDonald | Sports editor | @kylesportsbias

Photos courtesy of Jessica Allen

There may come a time when basketball becomes a rivalry game between Utah Valley University and BYU but on Friday the 13th, it looked more like an exhibition game as the Cougars rolled to an 85-54 win before 17,683 fans in the Marriott Center.MBBvsBYU-8731-Edit

“I think that just the whole atmosphere and gym tonight was tremendous for our home opener,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “We had a great crowd. I think we anticipated that there would be a lot of energy and excitement when we got started, and there was. It was a well-played game and a hard-fought game.”

UVU began the Mark Pope era going 1-14 shooting to start the game and found themselves down 22-2 10 minutes into the game.  Chase Fischer scored nine of his game-high 20 points during the run and Kyle Collinsworth had six of his 19 points as well.

“I’m not sure there was a ton we were excited about out there,” UVU head coach Mark Pope said. “Our nerves slowed us down a little bit. The ball stopped moving and it got lethargic. We lost gravity of the game.”

UVU finally broke the run when Konner Frey hit a jumper and a free throw to make it 22-5. However, the closest that the Wolverines got was 13 points after Andrew Bastien hit a jump shot.

“I think we really prepared well for this one, which we always do because we’ve got a great coaching staff,” Fischer said. “I think we limited UVU on their offensive end and came out with a lot of intensity on defense.”

BYU kept the pressure up and shut down guards Marcel Davis and Jaden Jackson, who combined for 39 points in the Wolverines exhibition game against Western State. The Cougars took a 46-26 lead into the half as Kyle Davis had 11 of his 17 points in the first half as well as 13 rebounds.  Davis recorded 20 rebounds on the night, which was a BYU record for rebounds in a season-opener.  The Cougars dominated the rebounding department as they outrebounded UVU, 69-36 on the night.

“They doubled us up on the glass, which I’ve never seen before,” Pope said. “I’ve never seen 70 rebounds in a game. We have to fix our issues on the glass and we have to play with more pace and feeling.”MBBvsBYU-8705-Edit

Frey finished the night with 19 points and six rebounds and Ivory Young had 13 points and three rebounds for UVU, who shot just 27 percent on the night.

“This is a great place and I love the people here,” Pope said. “I can’t say enough about it but we want to come win here (Marriott Center). We have to hold up our end of the bargain by playing better, and we will.”